The Florida Herb Conference was last weekend. The conference was organized by Emily Ruff of Orenda Herbals and was attended by 300 people who came from all over the Southeast. We were all simply overwhelmed with the level of excitement and dedication that is alive in the Florida Herb Community.
Poppy Swap sponsored the conference and Kiki flew down to represent and to offer some classes to the herbalists and students in attendance. On Friday, she taught a class for the clinical herbalists “Conducting a Client Intake: Based on the Ten Questions of Traditional Chinese Medicine.” And on Sunday, she presented the material from our First Poppy Swap E-Book: “For the Herbalist in Business: How to Successfully Sell Online.”
But it was the Keynote address from Rosemary Gladstar, on Saturday night, that stood out as a potentially a life changing event for many in attendance. The primary theme of the talk was sustainability. Rosemary asked us to think beyond being “conscious consumers.” How do we become conscious members of the ecosystem as a whole? How do we become PLANT SAVERS? Here are some of her key points and questions to the audience:
1. Rosemary encouraged us to “Take The Stress Off Of The Wild!” A few people can make a big racket in the wild and in many cases, especially with plants that are habitat specific or difficult to propogate, there is no such thing as ethical wildcrafting. We must know where our herbs are coming from and make the transition from wildcrafting to organic cultivating. Its time to grow our own medicine or support the American Farmer. When we create new plant sanctuaries, we create sacred land.
2. Rosemary asks the question, “What happens to a community when you remove all of the elders and healers?” If we view the forests as communities, we recognize that each plant has a long relationship with their soil and place. Each plant is also in communion with the other plants around it. We must recognize the seriousness of taking a plant our of the forest. We are not just harvesting medicine. We are, in fact, removing a member of a community from its home. This effects more than the plant we are harvesting, it effects the plants who are left behind as well. This becomes even more profound when we consider the harvest of plants that are considered “elders” like Reishi or American Ginseng.
Rosemary was a delight to listen to and though her passion led many of us to think deeply about our herbal practices, her sweet nature also reminded us to celebrate our lives and our great fortune to be connected to the plants we love. She finished with a gorgeous slide show of the Species At Risk. Here is a full list of plants that are currently at risk. Please visit United Plant Savers’ to learn more about the Botanical Sanctuaries Network and to see a comprehensive list of plants at risk. We encourage you to join this organization and support them in any way you can.
“United Plant Savers’ mission is to protect native medicinal plants of the United States and Canada and their native habitat while ensuring an abundant renewable supply of medicinal plants for generations to come. Our work, the work of United Plant Savers, is to research, educate and protect in the interests of our plants and their habitats. We hope that you will join us in this worthwhile and important mission. UpS is a 501 (C)3 non-profit organization.”
Thanks Rosemary, we hope so too!